Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Teenage Angst...and All That Jazz...

(Snapped on 11/11/10)

After a friend suggested it recently, I decided to try something new on my blog. My friend and I agreed that it might be interesting to my viewers, if every so often I feature pictures that vanity(?) or pride(?) would not normally allow me to post - examples of how certain specific frames or even entire shoots can go so terribly wrong, that I either banish them to the dud bin, or delete them without hesitation. Now I realize that if I'm to share any of the real loo-loo's in the future, I'm gonna havta restrain myself from reflexively discarding the biggest losers. (I'll be curious to see how much humiliation I might actually be willing to withstand...*gulp*) 

Anyway, as soon as I began writing this entry, all set to implement a "novel" idea - I remembered that I'd already done this very thing, once before - way back in September: photo-fail...soooo...not such a novel idea after all, it seems. Anyhoo...

...thinking that it might be best to break us all in easy (again) to this (slightly daunting) new addition to The Big Ugly, I chose the above image because although it does make me cringe, it doesn't make me wanna drive my car off a cliff. It is by no means the absolute worst photo that I've ever taken, however - what makes it so pathetic is the fact that it does royally suck - and it happened to be the best pic. of this particular bunch. Ya' gotta admit - that is pretty sad.

I was disappointed that I never succeeded at freezing the movement of tipping the chair, but I also hated how my body looked in each and every one of these pics., including the static ones where I just stood there and posed. My legs appeared to be (as) short (as they actually are) and my torso looked (just as) long (as it unfortunately is) Not to mention, what tha hell is up with that gut? The freaking thing made an unwanted appearance in nearly!

The main reason that I picked this particular photo though, is because of its relevance to this post. You see, after downloading the pics. from this shoot in November, and immediately accepting that I would never do anything with any of 'em (or so I thought), the one ray of sunshine was that the concept and costume were still fair game. This meant that I could revisit the idea, some other time. And so, while my kids were away over Christmas break with their dad, I took one final stab at the "All That Jazz" theme... 

(Snapped on 12/28/10)

My two dance-obsessed daughters urged me to keep my jackleg dance skills confined to a stage where no one (who matters) would actually see me - rather than mortify them by pretending like I knew what I was doing, in front of their respected instructors and the friends that they so admire - at the dance academy they attend. Feeling just a smidge insulted, my middle daughter consoled me by coming up with a reasonable solution, "Why don't you just do it in the auditorium at school, Mom? There's hardly ever anyone in there" - GRRREAT idea!

I figured there'd be even less chance that anyone would have to witness my silly shenanigans, if I staged the shoot sometime over the holidays. I picked a day randomly, and arrived at my kids' school - both arms heavily-laden with: a big bag brimming with costumes, my sack of camera crap, the little table cum "quadrapod", and the chair for the "All That Jazz" chair-tipping sequence. Once there though, I was shocked to see so many people, and so much hustle and bustle around campus. I'd kinda banked on having the place all (or mostly?) to myself...poo.

Nevertheless, I confidently strode up to the main building (as if I was actually supposed to be there, hee hee) and cheerfully greeted the first faculty member who approached me. They looked at me confused and asked, "Well, hello Ms. Wilkins. What brings you here, today?" I explained that I had come to do some self-portraits in the auditorium and - although still clearly perplexed, the nice person offered to let me into the locked building. On the outside I was calm as a cucumber, but inside I was jumping for joy! Gaining access to the stage had been far easier than I'd looked like - THE SHOW WOULD GO ON!

I first went to the light booth to get myself familiar with the spot lights and all that (nuttin' to it - was a total cinch) and then went backstage to change into my costume. When I returned to the stage, ready to get started, I was startled by a maintenance guy who had showed up to work on some wiring...dangit. Referring to my out-of-dress-code attire he asked, "Huh. S'the first time I've seen something like that here at school...what's the occasion?" I told him that I had come there to snap some self-portraits while the kids were on break, and even though he assured me that I definitely would not be bothering him, I opted to hold off on the dance pics. until he was finished with what he was doing.

(Snapped on 12/28/10)

Luckily, I'd had the good sense before leaving my house, to pack up a couple of extra costumes. Since most of my recent shoots had taken place outdoors in the cold, I was eager to take full advantage of this somewhat rare opportunity to shoot inside...where it's warm, for cryin' out loud!

The first set that I took while the maintenance guy did his thang, turned out pretty awesome f'I do say so. And although I thought it prudent to omit them from this entry, chances are if you haven't already unknowingly come across one - you will, before too terribly long... 

When I checked to see if the maintenance guy was done yet, he wasn't - so I went back to the dressing room to put on my other outfit, and then - summoning my inner teeny-bopper - I giddily skipped up the stairs to the little girls' room and proceeded to amuse myself with this carefree, lighthearted shoot. A bit of a pity about the heavy stage makeup (as it does sort of annihilate what should be a more youthful, innocent feel) but hey, sometimes a gal's gotta have her priorities straight - and in this case "All That Jazz" had top billing...

It was funny because, I wasn't exactly doing anything wrong in the bathroom, but the whole time I was messing around in there - I had the feeling that if I did get caught, I was gonna be in some kind of trouble...(felt just like I was really back in school)

I did not get caught, and so I didn't get into any trouble, but there was something mega-thrilling about the chance that I might (and I know it may sound screwy but)...that's a big part of why I keep doing this shit...

(Snapped on 12/28/10)

Once I made my way back down to the auditorium, I was relieved to see that the maintenance guy was finishing up. I went and got ready for the day's final performance, hopeful that the finale would be as rewarding as the first and second acts...

(Snapped on 12/28/10)

If you ask me, the bathroom scene (even more so - the mystery shoot) in the end - truly stole the show, however. Cuz yet again - "All That Jazz" was nothin' but a flop. The chair-tipping pics. were even worse than the last time, and the stationary posey ones were well, I dunno...(again with the gut?!) Bottom line, I think my wise, young daughters made an accurate assessment of my lack of natural dance-ability. I'll just say this - if there had been an audience, I suspect I'd have been booed off the stage…


  1. It's a shame you couldn't get the jazz pics to work the way you wanted to. Love the bathroom shots, though!

    xx Dee

  2. I find the chair tipping pic to be actually quite fitting to the narrative. The, somewhat dilapidated, background is well rendered while the intended subject is but an out-of-focus blur. It speaks of how our own self importance is illusionary and that the world has seen it all and will see it all again after we are gone.

    The reality may be that the camera was on autofocus and locked onto the bright patch. But, particularly today, reality rarely dictates meaning, so why should it here?

    I enjoy your work. Thank you for continuing to share it.

  3. In the bathroom shot, looking over the partition, I think a bookbag/purse on the floor in the next stall would have helped the narrative.

    As ever, very enjoyable, and the text is hilarious.

  4. I'll try this again. First of all I really like the new format in the sidebar with the icons and links to your other sites and hope that everyone will take advantage of the chance to see more shots not posted on the blog.
    I really liked the HS shoot, but felt great compassion for that poor young HS girl who had such severe sinus problems that she was forced to stuff her already amply filled bra with extra Kleenex. I hope she finds a good ENT.
    It appears to me that any illusion if thickness in your perfectly concave midriff was cause by the blur that occurred as a result of your movement, and a camera speed too slow to get the frozen in time shot you were hoping for.
    It's a damn shame Bob Fosse didn't live long enough to see the last shot! well, his loss, our gain.

  5. Aw MAN...You guys are the absolute BEST! I LOVE it when people comment on my blog - esPECially when the messages are so helpful, uplifting and motivating! Thank you all so much for bein' here for me...

  6. Your ideas for shoots are fun.

    Love the composition.

  7. @HEDONE - Thank You! I have a ton of fun brainstorming ideas, and then seeing what comes to fruition (oftentimes, the end result is NOthing like what I'd expected...and I dig it!)